I had sex with a guy who’s HIV positive (I’m negative) and we were safe using condoms etc. Afterwards I felt nervous and thought I should go to the hospital for PEP but the guy said I wouldn’t need it as we were safe and he was on meds and had an undetectable viral load. I still feel anxious though – should I have gone to the hospital?

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The important thing to understand is what the term ‘undetectable viral load’ actually means. Viral load refers to the amount of the virus present in a sample of blood. HIV medication aims to reduce the amount of the virus to an ‘undetectable’ level. This doesn’t mean that HIV isn’t there – it means that the way in which it is measured can’t actually detect it.

The really great news about this is that recent research has shown that someone with HIV with an undetectable viral load has an ‘almost zero’ chance of passing HIV to someone else.

You used condoms and he has an undetectable viral load – from what you say it would seem like you have no worries about having acquired HIV.

However, only a HIV test will tell you for certain. If you’re still concerned, find details of where you can take a test locally.

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